Last reviewed 01/2018

The thoracic sympathetic trunk has the following branches:

  • somatic: pass out in the grey rami communicantes of each ganglion to join the associated spinal nerve
  • visceral:
    • cardiac branches:
      • contributed to by preganglionic fibres from T1 to T5 segments
      • pass to the cardiac plexus
    • thoracic splanchnic nerves:
    • made up of preganglionic fibres which pass through the ganglia without synapsing
      • three in total: greater, lesser and least splanchnic nerves
      • pass to coeliac plexus within the abdomen
  • vascular:
    • vasodilator fibres
    • pass along the outside of adjacent large blood vessels and ramify with them e.g. the aortic plexus
    • some fibres to distal structures e.g. the forearm and lower leg, pass with spinal nerves before associating with the local vasculature